If you happened to be at San Jose’s City Hall last week you may have been shocked at what was being proposed.
Vouchers for free weed were being distributed by an organization called Weed4votes, whose campaign is aimed at public awareness surrounding the initiative to legalize marijuana in California this year.
Naturally, there was a catch.
The vouchers were distributed at a table across from City Hall and are only intended for adults. They can’t be redeemed for recreational use unless the state legalizes marijuana this year, Weed4Votes founder Dave Hodges said.
Additionally, in order to qualify for the free weed voucher, registered voters are required to support two of three petitions that need to be submitted in April to qualify for the November ballot.
The two petitions supported by the campaign are the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act and the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative. They would legalize marijuana for those 21 years old or over and give cities local control over marijuana, but not allow a ban unless approved by voters, Hodges said.
These two initiatives would essentially legalize marijuana for those 21 years old or over and give cities local control over marijuana, similar to states like Oregon and Colorado.
“I’d like to see (marijuana) legalized across the state and done in a way that promotes business and allows the current industry to move into a regulated market.” –Dave Hodges, founder of Weed4Votes
Only one of the three petitions, the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act, would establish a commission to oversee and enforce cannabis use across the state, either by an independent group or through the state legislature, said proponent John Lee.
However, according to Hodges his campaign isn’t supporting a third petition, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act because it doesn’t permit free distribution of weed, he said
People had to give their contact information to learn more about the effort but weren’t required to sign a petition, according to Hodges.
Hodges No Stranger to Dodgy Marijuana Laws.
Hodges started the All American Cannabis Club seven years ago in San Jose, only to watch it shut down last year because it didn’t meet regulations under a new city ordinance.
In a widely publicized move that transpired mid-2014, the San Jose City Council approved zoning and operational restrictions on medical marijuana collectives, which are required to register with the city.
There were only about 20 locations that qualified among the 80 clubs doing business at the time, according to Hodges.
“The black market has gotten a lot bigger in San Jose because of the limited amount of products provided at these business that are left.” –Dave Hodges
Proponent John Lee, who is director of Americans for Policy Reform, said the petition needs more than 365,000 signatures from registered voters in the state to qualify for the November election.
The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative, which is the other initiative voters will be able to vote on, has a goal of collecting 600,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
CCHI would legalize marijuana with no tax for medical uses and cap excise taxes on commercial sales to 10 percent, said area coordinator Paul Tarver.
Do you think free weed helps or hurts legalization efforts in San Jose? Let me know in the comment section!
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.